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For the sentence “The brothers have a good relationship.”, I know we can say

a. Les frères ont de bons rapports.

But can we also say

b. Les frères ont un bon rapport.

As this is a simple question, a simple yes or no would be okay.

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    « Les frères s'entendent bien. »
    – Personne
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 16:29
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    "rapport" in french can also mean intercourse, so I'd avoid this term if no further context is added
    – Lyzvaleska
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 9:29
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    @Lyzvaleska That would be a stretch for me to think of it this way. Not sure about others, but my mind is clearly not set to fall into that rut so easily. Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 13:14
  • @Pasunclue — Beaucoup de mots de la vie courante sont récupérés pour leur double sens par les comiques/humoristes. Le glamour en est sûrement à la base, mais les sous-entendus grivois sont là pour déniaiser une pudibonderie névrotique.
    – Personne
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 21:58
  • @Personne Eh bien celui-là serait bien trop indirect pour moi. Rapport a trop de sens outre celui de relation sexuelle pour que je considère celui-là dans mon analyse. Peut-être un humoriste parviendrait-il à m'y amener, mais même là, le doute demeure. Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 9:27

1 Answer 1

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As stated by @Personne in the comments, you can use the verb s'entendre.

Les deux frères s'entendent bien.

As stated in the comments, rapport can also mean intercourse in French, so it could be ambiguous to use this without adding more context. However, it is a correct usage (see the CNRTL definition, section III.E.), and it can work very well, for example:

Les deux frères travaillent ensemble et ont de bons rapports professionnels.

or

Malgré la séparation durant leur enfance, les deux frères sont restés en bon rapports.

However, to answer your question, I don't think it makes sense to use rapport as a singular because it designates the (multiple) interactions two people can have with each other. If you wish to use a singular word, use relation, which defines the link itself between two people (it can actually also be used in its plural form but let's not go too deep into details).

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  • Would the occasional singular «rapport» (la compagnie a un bon rapport avec la population) be an influence from the more commonly singular «relation» (la compagnie a une bonne relation avec la communauté)? Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 13:10
  • It would make sense. Maybe it even makes it a correct usage, although not intuitive from my point of view.
    – Reyedy
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 14:44
  • Yeah same here. I'm not sure about the correctness of it. And definitely not something I would ever transfer to the context of actual people, as opposed to the “entities” that companies or communities are. Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 14:49
  • @Reyedy Thank you so much for your help! 😊
    – Noybwbh
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 22:26
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    So first of all, be careful with the gender of nouns: relation is feminine (une relation) and rapport is masculine (un rapport). Also, for your sentence (a), you used the plural with the article "un", which is used for singular nouns. So for this sentence, a correct usage would be "Les frères ont de bons rapports avec leur mère biologique". And your sentence (b) is correct, good job! I personally have a preference for the (a) in this context though. :)
    – Reyedy
    Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 7:35

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